Best of 2009

I am sorry for being so slow in getting this up. 2009 was quite a ride for The League. Our first year covering Minnesota’s boxing scene had it all, big time ups and big time downs. As the year went on the more I respected each fighter I covered. I watched Caleb Truax progress from the first time I covered him last January to his most recent fight this past November. The Truax of today would kick the butt of Truax from a year ago, that guy learns from every fight. I started out the year not really having a high opinion of Matt Vanda, today he is one of my favorite fighters. Ismail Muwendo and Jeremy McLaurin probably made the biggest impressions on me as new fighters. Gary Eyer proved what I already believed, he has one of he biggest hearts and body shots in the state. Andy “Kaos” Kolle is for real. Jason Litzau is still the man in Minnesota. We were able the watch some of Minnesota’s best fighters of the decade hang up their gloves, Zach Walters and Anthony Bonsante maybe didn’t get to go out as they wanted, but did so on their own terms. Below is our year-end awards.

 

Fighter of the year

Matt Vanda

Matt Vanda

1. Matt Vanda

2. Jason Litzau

3. Caleb Truax

4. Wilton Hilario

 

Fight of the year

Gary Eyer (right), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Gary Eyer (right), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

1. Gary Eyer vs Levi Cortes

2. Matt Vanda vs Ted Muller

3. Caleb Truax vs Kerry Hope

3. Dave Peterson vs Corey Rodriguez

3. Antwan Robertson vs Brad Patraw 2

3. Cerresso Fort vs Lamar Harris

 

Most important fight of the year

Andy Kolle and Anthony Bonsante, Photo Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved

Andy Kolle and Anthony Bonsante, Photo Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved

1. Andy Kolle vs Anthony Bonsante

2. Matt Vanda vs Phil Williams

 

KO of the year

1. Andy Kolle’s KO of Anthony Bonsante

2. Ismail Muwendo’s KO of  Josh Jungjohann

3. Marcus Oliveira’s KO of Otis Griffin

 

Biggest show of the year

Matt Vanda working the body, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Matt Vanda working the body, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

November 13 at Hinckley Grand Casino

 

Prospect of the year – new pro this year

Ismail Muwendo, courtesy SnapLocally.com

Ismail Muwendo, courtesy SnapLocally.com

1. Ismail Muwendo

2. Jeremy McLaurin

 

Fighters of the decade

Zach Walters

Anthony Bonsante

Matt Vanda

 

Minnesota’s top P4P

Jason Litzau last April at the Target Center, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Jason Litzau last April at the Target Center, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

1. Jason Litzau

2. Andy Kolle

3. Caleb Truax

4. Wilton Hilario

5. Matt Vanda

Phil “The Drill” Williams, “I told you this would be my year.” Keys to victory for The Drill

Matt Vanda and Phil Williams, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Matt Vanda and Phil Williams, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

 

Phil Williams was in great spirits when I talked with him after the weigh-ins last night. He looked like a lean mean fighting machine, but so did Matt Vanda. Looking at the two of them stripped down to hit the scale you wouldn’t know that one has fought at under 150lbs and one well over 180lbs. Last night they looked like two ripped athletes ready to take care of business. But as close as they may have looked in size and muscle, don’t be fooled, Williams has the kind of power that comes with fighting as a light heavy. He weighed just under the 165lb limit and his prior fight he weighed just under 168lbs. In that fight, against Antwun Echols, Williams had his most impressive performance to date. He used more than just stalking and waiting to take care of Echols. But make no mistake, he ended that one with his signature bombs.

 

Phil "The Drill" Williams/ SnapLocally.com

Phil "The Drill" Williams/ SnapLocally.com

 

Keys to victory for Phil Williams.

Like his last fight with Echols, Williams is going to need to have more to his game than stalking and waiting to unload one of his explosive bombs. Against Echols he was in control of all but maybe one round, yes he stalked, but he was also willing to use combos as well as shifting from the conventional stance to south paw and back. These are the sort of things I believe he will need to employ tonight to get past the crafty and experienced Matt Vanda. Williams stamina will also need to be there in case Vanda can take him in to deep waters. Williams has had some issues when not seemingly getting his way in the ring, this can not happen against a guy like Matt Vanda.

 

With all of the above said, I think Phil Williams needs to take Vanda out early if he wants to win. Vanda’s style has seemed judge friendly in the past and a close fight going to the judges does not bode well for The Drill. With Williams fighting at an all time low in weight his stamina may be in question and who knows if his power will last into the later rounds. We all know Vanda is not easy to take out and Williams generally does his taking out by way of one super punch and not a steady flow wearing down his opponent. What I am getting at is, Phil Williams brand of knock out is based upon tremendous power, and he will have that at its best in the first half of the fight. I strongly believe Williams is going to need to come out strong and simply overpower Vanda, both in the clinch and with his shots. Matt Vanda has not tasted the kind of power Phil Williams possesses and for The Drill to win, he needs The Predator to taste plenty in rounds 1 to 5. I think if Williams can land a couple of the punches he landed against Marcus Oliveira or Antwun Echols, he has a real shot of winning this thing.

 

The non TV fights start at 7:30PM at Hinckley Grand Casino. Following the Wild game, 8:45PM, The FSN portion of the show begins with Matt Vanda vs Phil Williams.

 

1.Tim  Taggart vs. Sam Morales

 

2. Don Tierney vs. Zach Schumach

 

Fox Sports North Broadcast

 

3. Matt Vanda vs. Phil Williams

 

4. Wilton Hilario vs. Leon Bobo

 

5. Cerresso Fort vs. Lamar Harris – Great interview by Jesse Kelley of the two of these guys on his site. Check it out here, MinnesotaBoxing.com

 

6. Javontae Starks vs. Dan Copp

Matt “The Predator” Vanda vs Phil “The Drill” Williams, First Glance.

I can not think of a more interesting instate fight in some time. There are a ton of story lines to this fight. Both Matt Vanda and Phil Williams have spent a good portion of the year trying to get a fight with Zach Walters and both were unsuccessful in their quest. When neither was able to seal a fight with Walters, they turned to each other. Both Vanda and Williams have shown they are willing to step in the ring with any worthy opponent, and right now there is no more worthy than each other.

 

The Peoples Champ, Matt Vanda, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

The Peoples Champ, Matt Vanda, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

 

Matt Vanda’s career has seen him go from protected prospect to fearless warrior who is willing to step in the ring with anybody. I have no doubt that if Raphael Butler  or Joey Abell called out Vanda, he would come running with a pen to sign the contract. To start his career he faced many of the same critics that some of today’s prominent boxers face. People said he was handed victories with over matched opponents. People questioned things outside of the ring. There has been talk of home town decisions in his favor. Now at 50 fights, 41 of them wins, Vanda has gone the whole spectrum of boxing talk. Today, the first comment by most when Vanda’s name is brought up is Warrior. Not too many would debate the star power and drawing power of Matt Vanda. Like I have stated before, you put Vanda in there with any number of guys from 154 to 170, and you have a huge fight. I don’t know that I can think of any other guy in Minnesota that this can be said of. The League loves its peoples champ.

 

Phil "The Drill" Williams (right) Courtesy of 13twentythree.com

Phil "The Drill" Williams (right) Courtesy of 13twentythree.com

 

For Phil Williams things have been much different. He has never wanted to follow the traditional path to the top. The Drill has not been a fan of build up fights. He believes in challenging himself by fighting the perceived best. He hasn’t always gotten his wish but after his fight with Matt Vanda, he will have only 13 fights, and will have fought Antwun Echols, Marcus Oliveira, and Matt Vanda. Pretty nice competition for a guy with so few fights. I was there when Williams put his money where is mouth was and turned down easy money because he didn’t feel there was any competition, or sporting chance in a fight. Its hard not to like that when most follow the build up approach.

 

Their paths may be very different but their destination is the same. Hinckley Grand Casino, November 13, broadcast on Fox Sports North. We will be breaking down this fight in the coming weeks with keys to victory for each fighter. Stay tuned we are just warming up.

Rank this

It has been a while since we ranked Minnesota’s fighters. (We generally post Boxrec and IBO computerised rankings) Many will say that is a good thing and please continue not ranking. We say, “rank this”. From the mind of Todd comes the latest MN Boxing League rankings. (We use mind loosely here, could be/ should be, idiot mind of Todd) All fan fair aside, this is how we rank Minnesota’s best.

 

Rankings are not official

 

Minnesota’s P4P Best

 

1. Jason Litzau (25,2)

2. Andy “Kaos” Kolle (19,2)

3. Wilton Hilario (11,0) / “Golden” Caleb Truax (13,0)

 

Minnesota’s People’s Champ   (most fans, will travel)

The Peoples Champ, Matt Vanda, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

The Peoples Champ, Matt Vanda, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

 

1. Matt Vanda (41,9) * he could be biggest draw against Minnesota’s best at: Junior Middle, Middle, and Super Middle

2. Zach “Jungleboy” Walters (24,4)

 

Heavyweight

 

1. Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell (25,4)

2. Raphael Butler (34,8)

 

Light Heavyweight

 

1. Marcus Oliveira (19,0,1)  *not from or fighting out of MN, but fights here often, don’t think could be MN champ

2. Zach “Jungleboy” Walters (24,4)  *he is the Minnesota champ at this weight, and has told me he will fight to defend that title

3. Phil “The Drill”  Williams (11,1)  *like Walters, Williams intends to be at his more natural super middle

4. Harely Kilfian (8,2) *Wisconsin, but fights here most

 

Super Middleweight

Zach "Jungleboy" Walters, Courtesy Walters Photography

Zach "Jungleboy" Walters, Courtesy Walters Photography

 

1. Zach “Jungleboy” Walters (24,4)

2. Phil “The Drill” Williams (11,1)

3. “Golden” Caleb Truax (13,0)

 

Middleweight

 

1. Andy “Kaos” Kolle (19,2) *Minnesota’s middleweight champ

2. “Golden” Caleb Truax (13,0)

3. Kenny Kost (14,4)

4. Matt Vanda (41,9)

5. Robert Kamya (17,10)

 

Junior Middleweight

Andy "Kaos" Kolle and Pimp James, Courtesy of Walters Photography

Andy "Kaos" Kolle and Pimp James, Courtesy of Walters Photography

 

1. Andy “Kaos” Kolle (19,2)

2. Robert Kamya (17,10)

3. Dave Peterson (10,0)

4. Cerresso Fort (7,0)

5. Corey Rodriguez (4,0)

 

Welterweight

 

1. Mohammed Kayongo (14,2)

2. Corey Rodriguez (4,0)

 

Junior Welterweight

 

1. Gary “Stone Cold” Eyer (6,0,1)

2. Jeremy McLaurin (5,0)

 

Lightweight

Jason Litzau

Jason Litzau

 

1. Jason Litzau (25,2)

2. Wilton Hilario (11,0)

3. Allen Litzau (13,4)

4. Jeremy McLaurin (5,0)

 

Featherweight

 

1. Jason Litzau (25,2)

2. Wilton Hilario (11,0)

3. Ismail Muwendo (4,0)

4. Willshaun Boxley (5,1)

5. Brad Patraw (6,0)

 

Bantamweight

 

1. Willshaun Boxley (5,1)

2. Brad Patraw (6,0)

3. Antwan Robertson (4,1,1)

Marcus Oliveira Part II, By Laura Zink

 

Boxer Profile: Marcus Oliveira

Part II

By: Laura Zink

 

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

By the time Marcus Oliveira moved to Kansas when he was 17 years old, he had a veritable lifetime of street fights under his belt, over 200 amateur boxing matches, and a laundry list of curfew tickets and arrests on his record. But even with all of these experiences, he was scarcely prepared for what he was about to encounter in his new home in Kansas. One of the first adjustments that he would have to make happened almost immediately. After attending high school for just six months, Oliveira had his first encounter with the Aryan Brotherhood.

 

 

 “He was in a group,” Oliveira explained about the first Aryan Brother he ever met. “They had a little group. It was about 6 kids maybe. They had the same boots and…the jeans. I don’t remember his name. Anyway, class was about to start and I was standing with this black guy. The kid came running and bumped into both of us and he was like, “Watch out nigger.” And I didn’t take offense because I had never really been called that before. I grew up on the rez, and I knew I was a Native American. I didn’t take offense to it because I didn’t think that he was saying that to me. And then me and my friend were joking around about it. I said, ‘He said it to you.’ And he said, ‘No, he said it to you.’ And I said, ‘Why would he say it to me?’ I didn’t take offense to it because I didn’t think he was saying that to me. I don’t know, I mean the word didn’t hurt me, but I knew that he said it to try to hurt me.”

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, he walked by and bumped into us real hard, and he said that word and walked away,” Oliveira continued. “And I had just left the rez, so I had a hard attitude. So I said, ‘Well, I’m just going to kick his ass then at the end of the next session.’ So by the time the bell rang and the class ended and he started walking down the hallway, I stood against the wall. He walked by me, and I hooked him in the face. I didn’t think that I did it hard, but I did it really hard to where he just dropped. Everyone in the hallway heard this big ol’ smack, and he didn’t get up. He was just laying there. When he did get up he kept falling against the wall, and then he started kinda crawling to the office. That’s when the principal came out and was yelling and grabbed me by my shoulder. And after that was when the ambulance came and all that.”

 

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

With that one punch, Oliveira literally silenced the Aryan Brotherhood at his school with one knockout punch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “I hit him so hard that his lip split in two,” Oliveira remembered. “His bottom lip was hanging in two pieces.”

 

Due to the severity of the injury, the parents’ of the Aryan youth tried to press charges against Oliveira for assault. Oliveira’s aunt, however, got the parents to drop the charges by threatening a counter claim of an aggravated hate crime. The charges were dropped. Oliveira, however, did not escape Scott free. Instead of being prosecuted, he was kicked out of school. And while he escaped legal prosecution that time, the next time he committed a crime, the punishment would be much more severe.

 

It happened just a few months later after Oliveira’s aunt moved back to Wisconsin, and he was taken in as a foster child by a teacher from his old high school. Her name was Carol, and she took guardianship of Oliveira after he was kicked out of school. Carol, her husband Bill, and Oliveira all moved to Ulysses, Kansas. Oliveira was enrolled in Ulysses High School and worked his first job at a fast food restaurant. After working there for a couple of months, he would get into trouble again, and this time, he would have to suffer the full punishment for the crime.

 

I worked at a Dairy Queen, and I had some friends rob it,” Oliveira admitted. “They asked me how to open the cash register. I wasn’t there, but they asked me where everything was and I told them. I thought that since I wasn’t there that I wasn’t going to get in trouble. But they got caught, and I got what you call an “aiding and abetting” because I told them about the cash machine and where everything was at. After they found out that it was robbed and they found out who did it, they questioned them, and then the next day they came knocking on my door. In court, I remember the judge said, ‘I don’t care if it was 20 miles away or 50 miles away. I don’t give a damn. You care still party to the crime scene.’ But when they did a background check on me, they saw that I had never been in trouble before. They couldn’t find anything because reservations are sovereign nations. They couldn’t get into my records because it is like a different country. So, according to them, I had never been in trouble before. They were going to give me four or five years or something like that, but since I had never been in trouble before, I guess they were being lenient and they gave me two years.”

 

And what would they have found if they were able to crack open the records? How many arrests would there be from the reservation files?

 

Um…a lot,” Oliveira said. “I don’t really know how many, but it was for stuff like breaking into cars, breaking into houses, curfew tickets…But if that crime would of happened on the rez, I probably wouldn’t have gotten in trouble.”

 

The trouble that Oliveira was getting into wasn’t all due to the fact that he was fighting and stealing. Part of the problem was due to adjusting to life outside of the reservation. For Oliveira adjusting to the rules, the laws, and lifestyle in off the reservation required major adjustments on his behalf.

 

It’s hard to determine the laws from the reservation to outside the reservation because the laws were really different,” Oliveira explained about some of the differences. “The schools, too. And we speak differently, too. Like you know how African Americans got their slang? Like when I left the rez, I couldn’t understand what people were talking about. It was like a foreign language to me. And other cultures and races or whatever…like I had never been around a bunch of white people or a bunch of black people because on the rez, it’s always just Indians. That’s all I’d ever seen for my whole life unless I left the reservation to go to a boxing match. At a boxing fight was the only time that I would see them, or on TV or something.”

 

But it was after his sentencing that Oliveira would have to make one of his most major adjustments – understanding the severity of criminal punishment outside of the rez. Where on the reservation many of the crimes he previously committed resulted in, at most, an arrest and a call to his parents, in Kansas he would not only be sentenced and sent to prison, the courts made him wait to be tried as an adult before sentencing him. He would wait in the county jail in Ulysses for about 6 months awaiting trial. But as he waited, his guardians and the teachers at his new school would visit him in jail to help him finish his education.

 

I actually graduated when I was locked up,” Oliveira commented. “I actually graduated twice. I graduated when I was locked up, got my diploma, got sent to prison and then they do the psychology stuff on you to see how you are mentally. You got to take all of these math tests and stuff, and they had to put me in school in the minimum because I flunked all the school stuff. I had to take classes when I was in prison. So I got locked up, go to school, get locked up again and go to class in the correctional facility in Windfield. Then I got another diploma.”

 

But before he began his classes at Windfield, Oliveira spent a couple of months in the Topeka Super-Maximum Prison. It was a lock-down facility, where the inmates were in their cells 23 out of 24 hours of the day. While Oliveira was there, he began to hear the guards talking about him.

 

When I was in super-max because I had a babyface and whatnot,” Oliveira explained. “The guards didn’t think that I should have been there. I heard that a lot there. They would say, ‘You are too young to be in this jail’ that they ‘didn’t know why I was there’ that they ‘should’ve sent me to a boot camp’ or something. So what they did at the super-maximum prision was that they let me have a job. I got to walk around and mop the floors and stuff like that.”

 

After a couple of months, Oliveira was transferred to the Windfield Correctional Facility. And even though his sentence stretched for the whole 2 years, Oliveira did not tell his family back home that he had been locked up until the very end of his term.

 

I didn’t want my family to know what happened to me,” Oliveira stated. “But when I was getting out, they found out that I was in there. I needed money because I owed somebody money. I had to send them money because I didn’t have no money on my books. We were betting for a game and I lost. So I called my family and told them that I needed money because I owed somebody a debt. It was only $120. In there, that is a lot though. I mean, I had to give the guy I owed money to my food every day. I was living on vegetables because whenever there was something good like chicken and pizza and stuff, I had to give it to him. I was living on just vegetables because I was taking forever to pay him. It was kinda, ‘Just wait a little bit longer. Here you go dude.’ I owed him for like 5 days. You could bet on anything in there. What I was betting on was basketball.”

 

Also during Oliveira’s stay in jail, he began to indulge in an activity that he avoided, even when he was getting in trouble, on the reservation.

 

I would actually say that I started drinking more when I was in prison probably,” Oliveira said. “They had alcohol there. You know, shoe polish. You pour shoe polish through a sock and it drains out all of the ink and then the alcohol stays in it.”

 

And as his sentence was winding up in Windfield, Oliveira began a work release program with a plastics company named Wescon where he mixed dyes for ice scrapers. After about a year working there, he began a job at York Air Conditioners inserting copper coils. It was a good job with better pay, but just 3 months after working at York, a joke played between co-workers would result in Oliveira’s termination.

 

I got fired because I was messing around with another co-worker of mine and…I called him a ‘Fag Boy’,” Oliveira explained. “I wrote it on a piece of paper. It was a report we had to write saying what we did that day. The boss ended up seeing it and he said that there was no tolerance for that so he fired me. My co-worker wrote it on my paper first, but I ended up erasing it, and I wrote it on his, but then he didn’t see it on his paperwork, so then the boss ended up seeing it, and then he asked who did it. He was mad as hell. I didn’t think that I would get fired, so I said, ‘I did it. But I was just messing with him.’”

 

I got taken into the office,” Oliveira continued. “Before I went in, there was a lot of people there, and they were like, ‘No, you’re not going to get fired for that.’ And I came out and I was like, “Nope. I got canned.’ They were shocked. They were like, ‘What?!?’ They said, ‘Man, that guy must have a grudge against you or something. For that little thing?’ They’d seen people do worse than that. But I couldn’t stay there and talk to them because I had to get my stuff out of my locker and get escorted out.’

 

Courtesy UBCboxing

Courtesy UBCboxing

 

 

      

After losing his job at York, Oliveira was in a terrible bind. He was alone in Wichita, Kansas with no family to help him and no way to pay his bills. He did, however, have very close friends in his foster parents, Carol and Bill. When Oliveira had no idea what to do to keep his life on the right track, he called Carol for advice. Her suggestions not only would allow Oliveira to keep his life on track, but would also lead him back to boxing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “I called my foster family, and they started telling me about the Native American school where they serve Native Americans and it is real cheap to go there,” Oliveira said. “It was named Haskell. They told me about Haskell, so I ended up enrolling there. But they still didn’t have a boxing gym there when I started. After I got there, I maybe didn’t box for about a year. I was still getting in fights out there. It was a Native American school and a lot of times people start getting drunk and they end up fighting. So I partied a lot. I can’t tell you how much I partied hard. And actually, Erik, my boxing coach, he was the one who found out about me when I went to school there.”

 

 

 It would be a year into his time at Haskell before he would get into the fight that paired him up with his future trainer Erik Riley. But it would take significantly less time for Oliveira to start fighting at Haskell. About two weeks into his first semester, Oliveira would go to a party which would ignite a stream of fights that would occur throughout the year before he met his new boxing coach.

 

I was with about 4 other guys, and we were all going out to party,” Oliveira described about his first fight in Lawrence. “We went to a club and everything. Then we went to an after-party. Then we saw a bunch of guys drinking out on a dirt road. There was a bunch of cars parked on both sides. But what we didn’t know was that they were all together. But we were cool with them, and I was making good friends with one of the guys there. We all ended up getting separated, so I was hanging out with the other guy that I was talking with. And the next thing that I know there is a fight going on on the other side. And me and the dude were talking, and we said, ‘Well, why don’t we go over and see who is fighting.’ And we went over and see who was fighting, and my buddy was getting beat up. And I was like, ‘What the hell?’ And then one guy pointed to me and said, ‘He’s with them, too.’ And then the guy I was hanging out with punched me on the side of my face. Then a bunch of guys started trying to grab me, and I started trying to rip loose. They were all reaching and throwing punches at me and I was trying to get loose and my shirt ended up getting pulled over my head…I was able to get loose though. But my friend unfortunately didn’t get loose, and he got beat up. There was a lot of them. Maybe like 14. We were really outnumbered.”

 

Oliveira did not forget the fight that occurred that night, nor could he forget what had happened to his friends. But there was also another thing that he remembered about that fight that would cause a veritable epoch of fights between himself and the men that outnumbered him that night.

 

I remembered some of the faces of the guys that jumped me,” Oliveira explained. “So I went looking for them. The next day I ended up finding out who they were. And I would either just beat them up or threaten them. I didn’t know that they had a big family out there. I started fighting with their whole family. Every time I was somewhere I ended up seeing some of them or one of them, and they would want to fight me, so I ended up beating them up.”

 

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

But eventually Oliveira would bring his fights back into the ring. Still, boxing was not his sport of choice, but after punching out his future trainer Erik Riley at the toughman competition, Riley became an influential force which would lead Oliveira back into the ring…whether he liked it at first or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “Erik asked me to come work out with him at his little gym that he had there,” Oliveira said. “I told him that I would come back and do some workouts and stuff. And so we did. We started working out together, but he was more interested in training. He didn’t like it when I fought him the first time I met him.

 

He found out about this boxing gym in Topeka, Kansas. I went up there with him, and that is how I started going back to the gym. It didn’t take long for me to get in the ring. I think I fought only 5 or 6 times, and I was fighting like the number 1 and number 2 guys in the United States.”

 

So even though Oliveira was succeeding quickly in boxing, he still wasn’t putting everything he had into his training. One of the things that definitely shorted his interest in boxing was an interest in a different sport: basketball. Ever since he began attending Haskell University, Oliveira was on the university’s team, so his goals for success in sport rested there.

 

During the amateurs I still wasn’t very interested in the sport,” Oliveira explained. “I played basketball for Haskell University. And I was really into basketball to the point where, if I tried hard enough, that I could get into the minor league. I was doing real good in basketball. I almost got All Conference for playing there, so I know I was doing good. I was about to make All Conference, making rebounds and double digits. I just needed a few more points and a few more buckets and a few more rebounds or whatever, but I sprained my ankle so I couldn’t make it to the last two games to make it to All Conference.”

 

This sprained ankle, as well as some of the other injuries he got from playing basketball, ended up having an impact on his boxing later on. He won 3 Golden Gloves, 3 Kansas/Oklahoma Regional Golden Gloves, and 1 Native American Championship. But it was during his second trip to Nationals in Nevada that his basketball injuries began to haunt him. When he fought Joe Espino at Nationals that year, he lost due to ref stoppage.

 

The only reason that he won was because I sprained my ankle really bad,” Oliveira explained. “I tried to wrap it up, but it was like a cast on my back leg. But I was still winning until I dislocated my arm. The ref stopped the fight because my arm was out of the socket.”

 

But it wasn’t only basketball that was interfering with his boxing, it was also the partying.

 

I was tired as hell,” Oliveira remembered. “I would drink, train, drink, train, party, train, go to school, party, train. I didn’t really train for these National Competitions. I would train a week, and then it would only be three or two days out of the week.”

 

I was always beating them, but I did have a problem with training,” Oliveira continued. “I would always run out of gas before the third round. So I would be making it to these big tournaments, but I would never beat these number 1 or number 2 guys. But a lot of people would come up to me and say that they had never seen me around before, and how am I getting out into all of these big tournaments. And I started making a name…because these big tournaments. I would train maybe about a week, and then I would go back to school and start partying again. There was a couple of tournaments that I went to that I was drunk and didn’t sober up until I actually got there…and I would still make it to the finals. I tried to knock out as many of them as possible, but if I didn’t, I would always run out of gas. And that was a problem that I always had. But anyway, I ended up making it up to number 10 in the United States.”

 

And even though Oliveira’s dedication to his training had certain limitations, his coach, Erik Riley, kept pressing him to turn professional…and in 2006, Oliveira did.

 

I still wasn’t that interested in boxing,” Oliveira said. “There wasn’t really any inspiration behind the decision to go pro for me. I think I may have needed some money or something. I think that’s when I turned pro. But my boxing coach…there was a lot of fights on TV, so my coach started asking me when I was going to turn pro. The people on TV, I had beaten some in the amateurs. He said that I should turn pro because there was a lot of boxers out there that I could beat. So I turned pro mostly out of his say.

 

He ended up finding me a manager and everything,” Oliveira explained. “We went to a couple of places before Doug Ward. Right of the bat they would say, ‘We’ll take him.’ And then they would want to draw up a contract. And Erik, he wasn’t sure that I should take it because they wanted to keep me for 2 some years. He didn’t like the sound of the contract, but he would say, ‘Well, I’ll take a look at it.’ And then finally somebody had told him about Doug Ward. So then Doug Ward came down to the gym to see me sparring or whatever. He didn’t want to draw up a contact right away. He wanted to develop some trust right off the bat. He said he’ll manage me and do everything. So we saw that he was a good person and that he wasn’t just in it for money I guess. He started arranging me with opponents, and Erik thought that he was a real good manager.”

 

The first year of Oliveira’s pro career was filled with fast knockouts. He defeated Daniel Russel in 1.24 of round 1, Shawn Dean in 2.40 of round 1, Larry Lane in 2.54 of round 2, Reggie Brown in 1.21 of round 1, Mike Richardson in 1.05 of round 1, and Bertis McMillian in a mere 25 seconds of round 1. Meanwhile as his boxing was devastating his opponents right and left, Oliveira’s life outside of the ring remained relatively simple and somehow unchanged.

 

He was working at Wendy’s just as he did when he was an amateur. He was still in college finishing up his Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. He was still dating a young woman who he had met back when he began college in 2004…and he was still partying…that is, until he quit his job and his girlfriend gave him an ultimatum.

 

I was still drinking and partying, so I still didn’t really care that much about my career,” Oliveira said. “And that’s when I met my girl, my wife right now. The first year she let me go drinking and partying, but the second year she gave me an ultimatum, either stop drinking or she was going to leave me. So I stopped drinking and things started getting a lot more boringer because I wasn’t out partying. So I started training a lot more, training a lot harder. And me and my girl got a place, but I wasn’t working, so we started needing the extra money for my boxing fights. I get paid a lot more now than my first eight fights, which were like $400 or $500 dollars or something like that. But the biggest change has to be my wife. She’s the one who made me stop drinking…”

 

But then I stopped working,” Oliveira admitted. “She was the only one working. She was paying for everything, clothes, roof over our heads, everything. I wasn’t working. I was like a bum. She was getting mad about it too because when I did find a job…the job would have me work for like a day or two. I’d make twenty bucks or like thirty dollars. Fast food jobs, like at Bangal’s.”

 

The impact of this lack of finances took its toll in the second year Oliveira was fighting as a professional. On February 3, 2007, Oliveira had to go the distance for the first time in his pro career. No longer was it a lack of training that interfered with his boxing, it was a lack of money.

 

I actually thought that I was going to knock Mike Word out quicker,” Oliveira explained, “but money was always an issue, so the day of the fight, I donated blood…I thought, I’ll donate blood and get money, and then I will get more money once I am there for fighting him…it was like $600 bucks or something. But, it drained me really, really, really bad. By the time I got into the ring, the first round felt like round 6. I felt like falling over. I thought I might actually lose the fight, but I pulled it off and got a majority decision. But during that fight I almost dropped him twice, but I just didn’t have enough energy to finish him.”

 

Even with the lack of endurance stemming from donating blood, Oliveira won enough rounds to win a decision over Word. Word disputed the decision, so Oliveira fought a rematch with him later that year, and with his reserves in order, he would still have to go the distance, but he would win a much more convincing victory.

 

I think by the second Mike Word fight, my boxing skills were a lot better,” Oliveira explained about their rematch. “I mean, I could brawl, but using my boxing technique, he could barely catch me. The second fight was a lot better because I beat the hell out of him.”

 

And as the victories continued and Oliveira’s training intensified, his relationship to boxing was still somewhat ambivalent. But like many fighters who enter the game due to not desire, but by talent and necessity, Oliveira would have a match which would change his relationship to boxing forever. It all happened in February of 2008 when Oliveira traveled to LaPorte, Indiana to fight local fighter Nick Cook for the USBC light heavyweight title.

 

I want to tell you that I almost knocked out Nick Cook, but I broke my hand in the 4th or 5th round,” Oliveira explained about the fight. “I had to fight the rest of the fight, all the rest of the ten rounds, with just my jab and left hook. But he did not push me at all. He could not beat me, but he was very lucky that he got a draw. When I broke my hand, I told my coach, and he just told me to go on. So I just used my jab, and I still beat him really bad. I thought I won that fight with just one arm. He was all bloody and I thought that I had it in the bag. I thought I did real good for fighting with one arm.”

 

And even though he had Cook bloodied by the end of the fight, Oliveira was given his first draw.

 

I felt bad. I mean, I felt like I lost,” Oliveira commented about the effect of the judges’ decision. “I told my manager that I wanted a rematch with him. I just felt really bad. I can’t tell you…I felt like I lost actually. I was just really upset with myself. My manager and trainer told me that I did good and it was okay, but to me, it felt like a loss. But I made a point to myself that I was not going to let anything else come close again. That was just a horrible feeling. I didn’t like it.”

 

Oliveira KO's Phil Williams, Courtesy MinnesotaBoxing.com

Oliveira KO's Phil Williams, Courtesy MinnesotaBoxing.com

And it was this new drive not to leave the decision to hometown judges which Oliveira brought to his fight with Phil Williams in 2008. Though Minnesota fight fans did not know it at the time, this mysterious fighter from the Menominee nation who had a lifetime of fighting behind him was not about to leave the ring that night without a victory.

 

 

 

 

 

That draw, that just felt horrible,” Oliveira reflected. “So I told myself that if a fight is close, I’m gonna go out there and make sure I don’t leave it to the hands of the judges. Knowing that, I think that is what made me get up when Phil dropped me twice. After the second knockdown between rounds my coach told me that I might be losing the fight. I remembered the Nick Cook fight and knew that I wasn’t going to go through that again. So I went out there stronger. When I started throwing punches and in the 6th round, I actually felt him getting weaker, so I kept throwing them a lot harder. I was right on him, just trying to get that knockout. I caught him with an uppercut, and I think it knocked out his mouthpiece. So they had to stop the fight to give him his mouthpiece. So now I was thinking that he was really tired because he was going back to his corner, trying to get a break. I knew that he didn’t want to fight. And after I dropped him, I knew I had him because I ain’t gonna be like him. When you knock a fighter down, you don’t just jump on him and start throwing punches because you are going to wear yourself out. So I just took my time. I dropped him then and then I dropped him in the next. I won and I got what I deserved. I didn’t go all out until the last couple of rounds. But I got him.”

 

Courtesy MinnesotaBoxing.com

Courtesy MinnesotaBoxing.com

 

 

 

 

And that night, Oliveira earned the respect of many Minnesota fight fans. By the time he returned to the Hinckley Casino, fans began to cheer for him: the first time when he won a decision over Rayco Saunders in January of 2009, and later that year in June when he sent Otis Griffin flying back onto the canvas with a right uppercut that set off like dirty bomb which undulated through the room and sent the crowd leaping to their feet with cheers. This power did not go unnoticed by Minnesota promoters. Second’s Out promoter, Tony Grygelko, decided to sign Oliveira on for a few fights. This agreement will bring Oliveira back to Minnesota in the near future so that fans can continue to see this once hesitant, but always promising, powerhouse light-heavyweight. As he fights through Minnesota, one thing is for sure, fans will get to see a surprising and adaptable fighter who is freshly and seriously committed to reaching the upper echelons of boxing. Now that his drive, his life, his training, and his focus are all in order, Oliveira, the man who once surprised the reservation by his ability to knock out grown men when he was just 11 years old, will share the current peak of all his fighting experience with our state as he works his way to the top. And those very fans who questioned him that night back in 2008 will now be the beneficiaries who get to view, first-hand, the current road Oliveira is taking to get him to world championship.

 

Now, these last couple of years, I really started getting into it,” Oliveira stated. “Even when I am not boxing, I am thinking about boxing. My goal is actually that I will make it to the top. That’s the thing that I want to do. That is my main goal…to actually be number one. I mean you don’t know how good you are until you fight the number one guy…and now, I want to be that guy.”

Marcus Oliveira Part I, By Laura Zink

 

Boxer Profile: Marcus Oliveira

Part I

By: Laura Zink

 

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

 

Like many Minnesotans, the first time I saw Marcus Oliveira on August 29th 2008. He stepped into the ring with the Menominee Nation flag held up behind him by his cornermen. He donned a black dream catcher bandana across his face. And when the bandana was removed, I saw a mahogany-hued countenance composed with immovable calm. His physical stature, once disrobed of his black t-shirt, revealed the thick durable muscularity of a natural athlete. Before he even threw a punch, something in me told me that his competition, Phil “The Drill” Williams, was in trouble. The crowd, loyal to their hometown hero, did not have the same impression. When Oliveira’s undefeated record was announced that night, they booed and mumbled to themselves about how Williams would destroy him.

Marcus Oliveira landing big right on Phil Williams, Courtesy MinnesotaBoxing.com

Marcus Oliveira landing big right on Phil Williams, Courtesy MinnesotaBoxing.com

But seven rounds later, Marcus Oliveira would throw a right hand, left hook, right hand combination that would drop Williams to his knees. To the surprise of many Minnesota fight fans at the Grand Casino in Hinckley that right, Oliveira left the ring as the first man to ever defeat Phil Williams…and he did it by knockout.

 

 

And just as Oliveira stepped into a room where no one knew his punching power in 2008, one of the men from his corner that night, trainer Erik Riley, met Oliveira by experiencing a somewhat similar surprise. Back in 2004 in Lawrence, Kansas, Oliveira was hanging out with his friend “J-Sav”, when he recommended that they go over to Riley’s house for a toughman competition in Riley’s garage. The concept was simple, bet $20, and if you beat the competition, you walk away with their money. Oliveira had never met Riley before, but he was game. But like that night four years in the future, Oliveira’s fighting skill was similarly underestimated by those in attendance.

 

“I told them that I would do it,” Oliveira recalled about the event, “I told them that I used to fight. They all laughed. I didn’t tell nobody that I could box. Nobody knew that I was interested in fighting. So they all started laughing when I said that I was going to fight. And I said, ‘Yeah, I used to fight. I used to box anyway.’ And they didn’t believe me.”

 

 

But when it got down to the competition, Oliveira surprised everyone in the room…most of all Erik Riley.

 

There was quite a bit of people there. Maybe about 10,” Oliveira explained. “I was drunk,

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

Courtesy UBCboxing.com

so I don’t remember everything. I fought two people, Jon Vaughn and my boxing coach, Erik Riley. I fought Jon first. I was just too fast for him. I stopped him in round one, I think. Then, I fought Erik. I think I threw a hook and a straight right. I just hit him and he was like, ‘F@*k!’ and ripped off the gloves, and he just walked off and went into the house. And I was like, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ So we went into the house, and he was lying on the couch with an ice pack on his head. And he was all white. It looked like he got knocked out. He said that that was the hardest that he had ever been hit.”

 

 

But it is not only Minnesota fight fans and Erik Riley who were introduced to Oliveira by getting rocked by his power. For Oliveira, this circumstance was nothing abnormal. In fact, he had been shocking people with his fighting ability since he was a kid. Back on the Menominee Indian reservation, Oliveira was knocking out grown men by the time he was 11 years old.

 

“They were about 19 or 20,” Oliveira remembered about the ages of the men he fought as a child. “I remember getting chased down when people were coming out of bars…and I ended up beating them up. One time, I went to get my uncle at a bar with my friend, James Wayka. He looked inside the bar and started looking for my uncle. And then he finally started bringing him out, and these older guys, who were my uncle’s buddies, were in there. My uncle was really drunk. I just remember a bunch of guys coming out of the club, and they started shoving my uncle, throwing punches at James Wayka, and they started throwing punches at me. I remember laying one guy out after punching him. And there was another guy there who was very known in the town, and he came after me. And I ran away a little bit because there were too many of them. I couldn’t throw punches at like 4 guys. So what I would do was try to run back a little ways and make one of the guys try and catch me, then I’d knock them out, then wait a little again and make them try to catch me. But I ended up knocking that one guy out. He was like 20, and I was only about 11 years old. That was an incident that people on the rez were saying that there was no way that I knocked that guy out, but I did.”

 

For Oliveira, life had never come easy, and fights…he has fought more than his share, far more, perhaps, than he would have ever wanted. But amidst his initial resistance and even dislike of fighting, Oliveira’s life has led him to fight hundreds and hundreds of times. And whether he realized it or not, or wanted to acknowledge it or not, Oliveira would prove time and time again that he was most powerful when he was a fighter.

 

 

Marcus Oliveira was born on March 18th 1979 in Keshena, Wisconsin on the Menominee Indian Reservation. His mother, who was in the army at the time, had to leave him at his grandparents’ house for the first five years of his life. He would see his mother there occasionally, but would never really know his father.

 

“My dad was Puerto Rican,” Oliveira commented. “He was out of my life probably before I was even born. Well, I only have one other brother that we have the same dad. I guess he came back to visit my mom one time. My other brothers and sister, they have different dads…I mean, it was the same dad, but it was not my dad.”

 

By the time Oliveira was 7 years old, he began attending the Keshena Neopit Boxing Club. He was not exactly a fight enthusiast at the time. In fact, he claims that his initial reasoning for going to the gym was not because he liked fighting, but because his friends, most notably current professional boxer, James Wayka, trained at the gym.

 

“That was the reason why I went was because of James Wayka,” Oliveira commented. “As far as me being a boxer, I was really getting my ass beat up in the gym. I mean, I was like a punching bag. That was one of the reasons that I didn’t like boxing. I mean, I liked it, but I’d get the aches and get by nose busted. I mean it really wasn’t fun. I dreaded sparring.”

 

And while his early years in the gym were exercises in continual punishment, about the same time his life outside the ring also became increasingly violent.

 

“I would say that I got into a fight about twice a week…maybe three,” Oliveira remembered about his early youth. “Not every week, but like twice this week, and then the next week there’d be no fights, but then I would fight the next week after that. At first, it was hard growing up because…I’m mixed. I’m real dark. I’m part Puerto Rican. So I would get into a lot of fights. Actually, I didn’t get into a lot of fights, I just got beat up a lot. And at that time I was boxing, but I never used by boxing skills because I didn’t think that it would help anyway, so I a lot of times I would just get up and not try to fight back really. It was hard because I couldn’t make a lot of friends.”

 

But around the time he was 10 years old, things began to change. It was then that Oliveira began to hear around the gym, both from the coaches and from the fighters, that he hit hard. He hit so hard in fact that many of the fighters who once used him as a punching bag didn’t want to spar with him anymore. One of these people was James Wayka.

 

“He would say that I had too much power,” Oliveira said. “Every time that I was scheduled to get into the ring with him, he would tell me not to hit him hard. And I said, ‘You used to whoop my ass every day.’ He stopped sparring with me after awhile.”

 

As the tide was turning in his favor with his training at the gym, so too, were Oliveira’s fights outside of the ring. Instead of allowing himself to get beat up, Oliveira began to use what he learned in the gym in his other fights as well.

 

“There was one time when me and my brother were swimming, and this guy came up who had beat me up about 6 or 8 times already,” Oliveira remembered. “I knew he was experienced. He started blaming me and my brother for taking his money, which we didn’t. And I knew he would blame me and beat me up, so I just took off running. That probably made me look guilty, but I didn’t want to get into it again. But he finally caught me, and I started to do what I always do in the gym, which was box. Then I really started to beat the crap out of him, so then I started chasing him down. And after that he left. And I thought, ‘Wow, I’m actually pretty good at boxing.’ That’s basically when I started getting a name…that I could actually fight. Then people didn’t want to fight me no more. So that’s when I first found out that I was pretty good at boxing and that I should keep going to the gym.”

 

As he began winning fights outside of the gym and losing sparring partners in the gym, he still continued to get into fights, not because people necessarily thought they could beat him, but, in part, because one fighter who used to beat him up began to admire the way that he fought.

 

“I know James Wayka got me into a lot of fights,” Oliveira said. “One time, I remember him saying that he just likes to watch me fight. Sometimes he would instigate it somehow. I don’t know how, but he would instigate a fight somehow or somebody was messin’ with him. I don’t know how I would end up getting involved or how I would end up fighting the guy. This was around the time that he told me I started hitting hard. But I used to wonder, ‘He’s way better than me. I don’t know why he isn’t fighting these guys.’ Do you see what I’m saying? He should be able to beat them up. I mean, he beat me up in the ring, but as we got older, he’d have me fight some of his fights for him. But we never really sparred again.”

 

001marcus

But Oliveira’s fighting for James Wayka did not just occur on the outside of the ring. Sometimes he would fight as James Wayka in the ring.

 

“There was a lot of times that I fought under James Wayka’s name,” Oliveira explained. “A lot of his amateur fights were my fights. That was because I couldn’t afford to pay for my amateur boxing book. It was like 30 dollars. I couldn’t afford it, and my mom couldn’t afford to pay for it every month. So what we would do is I would fight under James Wayka’s name because he always had a passbook. I don’t remember really when that began, but I fought quite a few times under his name.”

 

But Oliveira’s young life on the reservation was not all fighting and training. Just a couple of years after his reputation as a fighter began to change, the other recreational activities in his life began to change. These changes, like those which happened in his fighting, would later redirect the course of his adult life.

 

“My thing was, like I said, all of my friends were in boxing, and if it wasn’t for that, I was just hanging out with them fishing and swimming…I didn’t really party then,” Oliveira explained about the transitions. “I wasn’t really that young, but when I was about 12 or 13, that became a big thing, too. Growing up on the reservation, there is a lot of people who were drinking. There would just be a lot of that.”

 

When I say party, I wasn’t drinking or anything,” Oliveira continued. “I would go hang out with my brothers late at night and watch them drink because…me and James Wayka didn’t really believe in drinking because we had seen what it had done to other people, and also the boxing coach would be getting mad. But I was staying out all night and doing whatever activities they would do. It was like partying to us.”

 

And then the bad things we did was like breaking into cars and stuff, breaking into houses,” Oliveira explained about those other activities. “I don’t know why we did that…those were probably the worst things we did as youngsters. We were just being like little hoodlums…like breaking car windows. Little things that you do because you had nothing to do or structure.”

 

Even though the trouble outside of the ring began to increase, Oliveira continued to succeed in his boxing. Yet, even after he racked up 6 Golden Gloves Championships, his feelings about boxing continued to be ambivalent.

 

No, I still didn’t really care for boxing that much,” Oliveira admitted about the later stages of his amateur boxing in Wisconsin. “I mean, I was winning a lot, but I didn’t like fighting. I did like the trips I was going on. I liked staying in the hotels. I liked staying with my friends and going on these big trips, but as far as getting in a tournament and fighting…I didn’t like it. I didn’t really care much about winning. Win or lose, it didn’t really matter to me. I just had fun staying in the rooms there, so I didn’t care.”

 

His memories to this day of his amateur career are, as a consequence, somewhat sparse due to this initial ambivalence. He admits that he doesn’t really remember who he fought or where he fought. He just remembers from his trophies and from his memories that he got to spend time away from the reservation with his friends. Basically, he remembers that he was there. His appreciation of the trips and the hotels, as opposed to boxing, is scarcely surprising. For many young people on his reservation, travel was not a luxury many people enjoyed. In fact, for Oliveira, just traveling to the other end of the reservation posed problems. Since there was no public transportation, even visiting friends on the other side of the reservation took considerable effort.

 

There was no way to get anywhere really, but around 11 or 12, that’s when we started to hitchhike,” Oliveira said. “The reservation has two parts, and the next town was Shawno, and we would hitchhike to Shawno, me and my friends that lived up there.”

 

But amidst the fact that he enjoyed the easy mobility and adventure of the trips more that he enjoyed the actual boxing, Oliveira was still fighting a lot…and winning just about as often. By the time he left the amateurs in Wisconsin he had about 200 fights, most of which he won. By the end of his amateur career many years later, his career record would be 200-23.

 

Yet while his boxing was getting more and more successful, the trouble that Oliveira was getting in became worse and worse. By the time he was 17, he had 200 amateur bouts under his belt…and a threat by local authorities to send him to boot camp.

 

I stayed in Wisconsin until I was like 17, maybe,” Oliveira explained. “I actually came up to Kansas because I had an aunt out here. I was supposed to be out here just for the summer, and I ended up living up here. My mom sent me up here because she wanted me to get out of the life on the reservation. I was getting in trouble and stuff, and partying. So I came here and ended up overstaying. My mom kept telling me that she didn’t have enough money to bring me back. I kept thinking the whole time that I would be back up in Wisconsin anytime, and the next thing I know my aunt had me enrolled in the high school. And that’s when I began to know that I was living there. And as far as boxing, I quit when I left, and I was actually glad.”

 

Even though his mother hoped that moving away from Wisconsin would give Oliveira an opportunity to get away from trouble on the reservation, living in Kansas would pose a whole new set of troubles to overcome. For Oliveira, Kansas would be a testing ground not only for adjusting to life outside the reservation, but also, for re-evaluating the place that boxing had in his life. In many cases, the circumstances he would encounter in Kansas there were far more severe, and at times, far more glorious than anything he had ever experienced back in Wisconsin.

 

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boxrec.com United States rankings, MN’s best ranked fighters

jason_at_pechanga_071505_037

 

I went through the Boxrec United States rankings today and here is a list of how Minnesota pros are ranked. I know some of these guys don’t live in Minnesota but they fight here frequently. Another note, Zach Walters is still listed as light heavyweight so he did not make the rankings. Not surprisingly Jason Litzau, ranked 2, and Andy Kolle, ranked 6, were tops in the state. Marcus Oliveria was ranked 9, and both Caleb Truax and Phil Williams at 15 in their weight classes. This was done on United States rankings so Wilton Hilario didn’t make it because he is listed as Dominican Republic.

 

Photo Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved

Photo Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved

 

Heavyweights

38. Joey Abell (25,4)

59. Raphael Bultler (34,8)

 

Cruiserweight

46. Harley Kilfian (8,2)

 

Light Heavyweight

9. Marcus Oliveria (19,0,1)

 

Super Middleweight

15. Phil Williams (11,1)

 

Middleweight

6. Andy Kolle (19,2)

15. Caleb Truax (13,0)

 

Super Featherweight

2. Jason Litzau (24,2)

18. Allen Litzau (13,4)

 

Super Bantamweight

16. Willshaun Boxley (5,1)

 

Bantamweight

9. Brad Patraw (5,0)

11. Antwan Roberson (4,1)

 

My eyes were failing me when doing this, so please, if you see an error, let me know.

Seconds Out Promotions / Cornered

dsc02843

 

Cornered Fight Report

By: Laura Zink

 

Minneapolis power-puncher, Phil “The Drill” Williams (10-1 9KOs), faced off against former NABF and USBA title holder “Kid Dynamite” Antwun Echols (31-10-4 27KOs) in a 10 round main event. Williams, typically known for somewhat meditative bouts ending in fast and devastating knockouts, clearly showed last night that there is much more to “The Drill” than quick KOs. Echols tested Williams’ adaptability as a fighter with his crafty countering and sheer durability. For both fighters, a true ebb and flow contest ensued. Williams switched his stance to showcase his technicality proficiency and thunderous jab, and Echols, after having his face ripped open by Williams’ straight shots in the 3rd round, continued to withstand the blows and mix it up with Williams, trading shots for shots every round.

“I’ve seen him [Echols] fight Bernard Hopkins twice, so I knew he was a veteran,” Williams said after the fight, “He had been around. He had fought for world titles, so I knew he was going to have moves, and that is what I want to learn and pick up from. If he would have come right at me, I would have knocked him out. But with Antwun, he was crafty. I learned that once I had him that I shouldn’t over-rush him.”

Echols definitely did some punishing himself. Especially in the late rounds, whenever Williams dropped his hands, Echols made sure to pepper Williams with shots to the face. Echols shocking durability and slick boxing pulled him through 6 full rounds, but early in the 7th round, after 2 shots to the head and 2 body slams from Williams, Echols’ corner sprung up from ringside like a line of jack in the boxes to throw in the towel. With Williams’ power as the ring general in this bout, the fight was stopped at 42 seconds in round 7.

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Williams was supposed to match off against the Contender’s Jaidon Codrington, but Codrington pulled out last weekend due to either medical issues or a desire to change course in his life and focus on becoming a policeman. Williams expressed skepticism over the reasons for the last minute change of heart.

“With Jaidon Codrington, I was ready to fight him. With six weeks of training, the last week, he just bows out,” Williams said, “He said it was for medical reasons, but I want to see the medical reasons. He’s a popular fighter because he’s been on the Contender, but he isn’t a better fighter than Echols. You can’t just hit him [Echols] and knock him out. With Jaidon, I thought it would only go three rounds.”

Williams, who recently dropped his last fight in April at the weigh-in due to his opponent, Chance Western (1-1), being 9 pounds underweight, was happy to be back in the ring and prove himself as a contender for Minnesota’s best light heavyweight, or super middleweight, or, for that matter, anyone 160 lbs. and above. He is currently setting his sights on the current Minnesota Light Heavyweight Champion, Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters (23-4). Walters has held the Minnesota Light Heavyweight title since 2004 when he defeated Marty “The Wolfman” Lindquist in a second round TKO.

“We are ready to fight with anybody that they will put in the ring, especially Zach Walters,” Williams remarked after the performance. “They put him up too high, and he ain’t been fighting nobody. It’s time to get in the ring and stop running and stop hiding. He can see that I am super middleweight now, so he can’t even run away on that. I’m here now! I feel stronger at super middleweight than I do at light heavyweight, so bring it on! I didn’t even strain to get at this weight. I just finally started working everyday in the gym like I should have been. But if there is a fight for me at light heavyweight, 185, 168, whatever, I’ll take that, too.”

In the co-main event, Osseo’s own “Golden” Caleb Truax (11-0) went a long, meditative, and frustrating distance against Youngstown, Ohio southpaw Durell Richardson (11-2). The 8 round middleweight bout labored on for both of the fighters, Truax working his counterpunching style and Richardson being defensive and primarily running and dipping out of the corners as Truax advanced. The bout was scored 79/74, 77/75 (Richardson), and 80/72, giving Truax the victory by split decision.

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“I was kind of upset,” Truax said after the bout, “I knew that he was going to be a slick boxer, but I thought he was going to engage a little bit. He spent most of the fight running and backing up the whole time. I did what I needed to do, just kept working him with my jab and…got the decision. I knew that he didn’t have a lot of power because he only had 4 knock outs in 11 fights, but at the same time you would think that he came here to fight, that he would want to mix it up a little bit instead of skirting around the ring. I wish he would have engaged a little more and given more of a show for the fans. I was getting frustrated big time because I came here to fight. I came to give the fans a good show, and that is not what they got to see.”

Originally, Truax was scheduled to fight another southpaw, James Cook (11-3-1), but Richardson, who replaced Cook provided some ring practice for Truax against southpaws. Truax hopes to fight Minnesota’s most notable southpaw, Minnesota State Middleweight Champion Andy “Kaos” Kolle (18-2). After the bout with Richardson, Truax commented on his experiences with southpaws, both last night and previously in his career, experiences which he believes, stylistically, do not compare to the power and slick, quick punching of the state champ.

“The last southpaw I fought did a lot of the same thing [as Richardson]. He just wouldn’t engage. He would just run around, run around, just backing up all the time. Guys like that are completely different from Andy Kolle. Those fights are not really a fair gauge as to how far we will go with Kolle. I would like to get in with a guy who would actually box more before I get into that fight. Hopefully it happens in August or December or whenever they want it to happen. I just hope it happens. It’s a fight that the fans want to see. I’m happy that Kolle will consider me for a challenger because he is the champ. He gets to pick.”

In a 10 round light heavyweight bout, Marcus “Native Pride” Oliveria (17-0) destroyed “The Next Great Champ” winner, Otis “Triple OG” Griffin (19-5) with a percussive bomb of a right uppercut 2 minutes and 25 seconds into the second round. Oliveria, most noted by Minnesota fight fans for giving Phil “The Drill” Williams his first career loss back in August of 2008, is now notably proving that he is a remarkably adaptable fighter with a keen sense of strategy and truly deadly power. Where his fight with Williams was a testament to his defensive skill and powerful, crafty jabs, his win over Griffin revealed his in-fight adaptations and truly critical power.

“The first round I wanted to see what he had and put pressure on him,” Oliveria calmly commented after the bout. “I know he wanted to fight, and I wanted to give the crowd something that was not too boring. After I tested his power and saw where his skill level was at and saw what kind of combinations he was going to try to throw in the later rounds. But I didn’t really see anything except that he was getting tired. After the first round was over his breathing was caught up dramatically. He was huffing and puffing. So I thought, well, I will give him a different look the second round. I started bobbing and weaving and throwing more jabs, and that was just to open him up more. Then I thought well, I’m gonna throw the uppercut soon, so I’ll start backing up and try to lure him in. And he did exactly that, and that is when I caught him with the uppercut.”

In the third bout of the evening, Willshaun Boxley (5-0) finally got a crack at Maryland’s Thomas Snow (10-1) in a 6 round super bantamweight bout. After an exciting first round where Boxley caught Snow with a punishing right hand, Snow spent a majority of the rest of the rounds staying outside with twirling footwork, slapping at Boxley with jabs, or stifling Boxley’s advances with tie-ups. The rounds began to run a little long, and by the 4th, the restless crowd yelled at Snow, asking him if Boxley wanted to fight.

“No he don’t!” a cocky Snow yelled from the ring after yet another separation from the ref.

In the 5th, Snow did catch Boxley with a jab, Boxley even noting to him in the ring that it was a nice shot. But there was never a moment in the bout where Boxley looked hurt. He did, however, look frustrated…and annoyed. By the end of the bout, with 10 seconds remaining, Snow raised his arms in victory and shuffled around the edge of the ring, showing Boxley that he had stayed away long enough to win a decision victory. The relatively inactive bout was left to the judges, 59/57, 57/57, and 58/57, hailing in a majority decision for Snow.

“Wilshawn Boxley ain’t been through what I’ve been through,” Snow yelled at the crowd after the bout, “I outpointed him, and I outboxed him.”

Boxley had a very different perception of the bout.

“The guy was pretty much running from me the whole time,” Boxley said later that night, “When he found out that I had something to offer, he just kept running. Ever since I cracked him with the right hand, he just kept running. Even after the fight he told me the same thing. He said, ‘You have a very powerful right hand. I had to box you. I had to run.’ The only time that he hit me was with a jab, and that was an open hand. It was a backhand jab, which shouldn’t even count because that is illegal. And anytime that I cornered him or cut off the ring, he held. He held so many times that he should have had a point taken a long time ago. I think it was the wrong kind of decision. I don’t think that they really saw what was going on out there.”

In a 4 round middleweight bout, Michael Faulk won a mixed decision against Marvin Rodriguez (1-1). St. Paul’s Michael Faulk was fighting his pro debut. Rodriguez began his pro career last January winning a split decision against Charles Meier (pro debut) and lost a unanimous decision to Dion Savage (4-0) last April.

In a 4 round featherweight match, 20 year old Ismail “Sharp Shooter” Muwendo(2-0) knocked out Josh Jungjohann (0-1) one minute and forty seconds into the first round. Muwendo began his pro career last January in Kampala, Uganda winning a 4 round unanimous decision and introduced himself to Minnesota fans at the Epic Nightclub last April by winning a 2 round KO against Felix Martinez (0-2). Jinjohann also began his pro career last January, losing by 3rd round TKO to Jeremy McLaurin (1-0).

 

Phil “The Drill” Williams does not disappoint

I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with Phil’s performance last night. He was going from south paw to traditional stance and landing bombs from both. I have not seen Phil throw combinations like he did last night. A very good showing.  He again called out Zach “Jungleboy” Walters, before and after his fight. There will be much more on this later. Seconds Out Promotions handed the fans a very stacked card. They and Hinckley Grand Casino did another great job in putting on an event to remember. Caleb Truax got his first win on his way to a showdown with Andy Kolle. Willshaun Boxley had his first disappointment as a pro in getting his first loss. Marcus Oliveira landed the PUNCH of the night with a monsterous uppercut that sent Otis Griffin crashing to the mat and ending the fight. Laura Zink will have a full report for us later. Stay tuned for much more.

Minnesota’s Boxing

boxThank you for your support! Our readership has hit a new high over the last two months. This last week was our best ever! The holiday weekend has been a time to decompress after all the happens of the last couple weeks. We have some exciting changes coming over the next few weeks and months and I just want to thank you for your continued support. Now back to the reason you’re here in the first place, BOXING. Below are some punches in bunches from around the state.

 

Gary “Stone Cold” Eyer was in great spirits after his second TKO of Scott Robinson. Gary again told me how scared he was going into the ring, but those who were there or have watched the web-cast know Eyer was more scary than scared.

 

I had an opportunity to talk with “T-Rex” RJ Laase Saturday. He gave credit to Hecotor Orozco for coming to Duluth and taking care of business. RJ is a very smart young boxer and understands the opportunity this gives him to learn from Thursday nights action. I have no doubt the next time we see Laase, he will be better than ever.

 

Tyler Hultin lived up to the talk. You really could not ask for a better start to a professional career than an early knock out. I was able to chat with Tyler after his fight Thursday night. First off, Tyler, his dad, his fans, were all class. This is another talented and classy fighter from Fergus Falls MN. He was in great spirits after his fight with Craig, he said he was really looking forward to being able to fight in Duluth again.

 

Phil "The Drill" Williams/ SnapLocally.com

Phil "The Drill" Williams/ SnapLocally.com

 

In just under two weeks the most stacked announced card will take place at Grand Casino Hinckley, June 5. Phil “The Drill” Williams is living up to his talk in taking on a very difficult challenge in Jaidon Codrington. Marcus Oliveira will be facing another TV show star in Otis Griffin. ”Golden” Caleb Truax is stepping up competition and taking on a lefty in his quest to get a shot at Minnesota’s middleweight champ, Andy “Kaos” KolleWillshaun Boxley looks to finally get in the ring with Thomas Snow.

Courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved

Courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved

 

June 6, Shooting Star Casino has a show featuring, Chris Holt vs Jonathan Corn. Also on the card will be, Patrick Cape, Marty Lindquist and more.

 

Zach “Jungleboy” Walters and Andy “Kaos” Kolle will be making their return to the ring June 18 at Grandma’s Sports Garden. It looks like they will be giving their desired weight class’s a shot, Kaos at 154 and Jungle at 168. Those that want to see the action in person, please get in touch with one of Horton’s fighters, Horton’s gym or Grandma’s for tickets as soon as possible, with both Kolle and Walters on the card, tickets will be gone soon. You can also reserve tickets by going to our contact page and leave us a message with “tickets” in the subject line and how you can be contacted.